Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mae West: Over Exposed

On orders from MAE WEST herself, her publicity department does not write stories about her anymore.
• • To those who ask for interviews, manager James Timony tactfully explains that Mae is extremely busy writing the next scenario. There has been, Mae and her studio have concluded, "Too much West."
• • Mae's appearance in court here for several days, to tell how she was robbed of diamonds and money, was of no little concern to herself, her manager, and her studio — — but not so much for reasons of justice as for those of career. She knew beforehand that she'd be quoted and photographed, the very things she had been trying to avoid. . . .
• • As to the effect of this publicity, consider the declaration of a former West admirer and inveterate picture-goer, who told me: "I haven't seen the new Mae West picture. I've read so much about her and seen her photographs so often that I don't want to see 'I'm No Angel'!"
• • This attitude is one which Mae and Paramount fear may become too prevalent. If it does gain ground, the excellence of future Mae West pictures will be of little matter.
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Screen Life in Hollywood by Hubbard Keavy [1934]

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Mae West.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mae West: J-Lo and the Stork

MAE WEST once said, "His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."
• • As the Bronx-born entertainer Jennifer Lopez, age 39, prepares to ditch her hispanic hubby Marc Anthony, who no longer rules her heart, she is welcome to borrow that line.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
Mae West.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mae West: Lowell Sherman

Lowell Sherman directed one of the hottest motion pictures that starred MAE WEST.
• • Born in San Francisco, Lowell Sherman [11 October 1885
28 December 1934] was an actor and a director. Lowell Sherman's acting career began by being cast largely as a playboy or a villain. Perhaps it's no wonder that he was eager to become a director.
• • His best known motion pictures were She Done Him Wrong [1933] starring Mae West
— — and also Morning Glory [1933] with Katharine Hepburn, which helped her snag an Academy Award.
• • His third marriage was to actress Helene Costello younger sister of Dolores Costello.
• • At the age of 49, Lowell Sherman died in Hollywood three days after Christmas 1934 from pneumonia.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Mae West.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mae West: Steve Allen

Thirty five years ago, MAE WEST was attended by several "Gentlemen in Waiting" — — such as Steve Allen — — when she received the Masquers Club Award in 1973.
• • Born in New York City, Steve Allen [26 December 1921 — 30 October 2000] was a TV personality, musician, actor, comedian, and writer.
• • Steve Allen was the son of Isabelle Allen (nĂ©e Donohue), a vaudeville comedienne who performed under the name Belle Montrose, and Carroll Allen, another vaudevillian. Steve Allen was raised on the south side of Chicago by his mother's Irish Catholic family. Milton Berle once called Allen's mother "the funniest woman in vaudeville."
• • Though he got his start in radio, Allen is best-known for his television career. He first gained national attention as a guest host on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. He graduated to become the first host of The Tonight Show, where he was instrumental in innovating the concept of the television talk show.
• • After this glorious beginning, he hosted numerous game and variety shows, including the Steve Allen Show, I've Got a Secret, The New Steve Allen Show, and was a regular panel member on "What's My Line?" the popular CBS program.
• • Allen was also known as a prolific composer, having penned over 10,000 songs, one of which was recorded by Perry Como and Margaret Whiting. Allen won a Grammy award in 1963 for best jazz composition, with his song The Gravy Waltz. Additionally, Allen wrote more than 50 books.
• • He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Mae West.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mae West: Poetic Lust

An annual erotic poetry event in sunny California was inspired by MAE WEST. Who knew?
• • Taking place on December 29th this month at Priya Indian Cuisine [see below for the complete address in Berkeley], Poetry Express extends an invitation to its sixth annual "Between the Holidays Erotic Poetry Night."
• • The name of the event is a syntactic nod to Mae West, says Poetry Express host Mark States, who explains that the bawdy thespian "named her legs Christmas and New Year's and asked if you would 'come visit her between the holidays.'" [Perhaps we should state the obvious
— — that this was well-known quip was not a line from one of the actress's movies for Paramount Pictures — — because a comment like this in a screenplay surely would have been red-lined by the film board's purity police.]
• • Throughout the evening, attendees' readings at the open mic will be interspersed with Mae West witticisms, quips, and quotes.
• • Although Poetry Express happens almost every Monday evening throughout the year . . . PE's erotica theme nights are a popular tradition in the local open-mic scene. One year, States remembers, "a triad — — one wife, two husbands — — came and read their group-sex poems to each other. Somehow," he laughs, "the rest of us felt left out." Another year, "the sensuous lesbian love stories were the most popular and sweat-inducing. ... Good erotic poetry does not have to be obscene, nor technical like the Kama Sutra," advises States, a noted performance poet whose books include Reinvention from Mother's Hen, Grip of the Past, and Tongue Control. "It should engage the audience, make them see and smell and taste the experience as though they were there. . . . If you can make me blush and sweat, you've written a great erotic poem." . . .
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: Do Tell: Warm up a winter night with erotic poetry, performed live.
• • Byline: Anneli Rufus
• • Published by: East Bay Express — — www.eastbayexpress.com/
• • Published on: 24 December 2008
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Priya Indian Cuisine is located here: 2072 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, California 94702; 510-644-3977

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • Xmas greetings • •
Mae West.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mae West: Box-Office Uplift

In the winter of 1929, MAE WEST was interviewed by Edgar Waite of the San Francisco Examiner. Here is a portion of their conversation.
• • Edgar Waite: Is it your purpose to reflect life as it is lived — — or are you trying to elevate the stage?
• • Mae West: Don't kid me. I've had one dominating purpose in writing such plays as "Diamond Lil," "The Drag," "Sex," "The Wicked Age," and "Pleasure Man."
• • Edgar: Moral uplift?
• • Mae: Box-office uplift.
• • Edgar: What luck?
• • Mae: Assorted. Last Monday at the Curran, we took in $300 more than Ethel Barrymore on her opening night last summer. On the other hand, if the district attorney of New York hadn't closed "Sex" because the curbstone bidding for tickets took too many cops off their regular beats, I'd have owned my own theatre by now.
• • Edgar: Do you consider your plays quite moral?
• • Mae: I consider them a theatrical representation of those phases of life which interest the public more than anything else, and have since the days of Sappho, Aspasia, and Delilah.
• • Edgar: And when was that?
• • Mae: Forever.
. . .
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • The Curran Theatre, where Mae West performed her play in 1929, is located at 445 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1928 illustration • •
Mae West.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mae West: December 25th

MAE WEST has a tie to two individuals linked to December 25th.
• • Evelyn Nesbit Thaw — — born on 25 December 1884
• • No doubt Mae, an aspiring entertainer, would never forget her booking on 4 August 1913 — — when Hammerstein had scheduled the vivacious teenager to perform at his vaudeville playhouse situated in Longacre [later Times] Square. The location was popularly known by New Yorkers as "the corner."
• • On this sultry August evening, Mae West was there to open for a world-famous star: Evelyn Nesbit [1884 — 1967]. Despite a low-cut gown and provocative songs, Mae failed to fire up the audience.
• • The critic from The New York Tribune [whose coverage ran on 5 August 1912] commented that even Mae's low neckline and raunchy bumps and grinds were not enough to sway the hoi polloi.
• • In 1899, Oscar Hammerstein built his fifth showplace — — the Victoria Theatre — — at the corner of West 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue. Stars like MAE WEST, Will Rogers, W.C. Fields, Charlie Chaplin, Ethel Barrymore, Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Buster Keaton, Harry Houdini, Evelyn Nesbit, and Eva Tanguay were among the thousands of performers who made Hammerstein's Victoria the vaudeville "nut house" of Times Square.
• • W.C. Fields — — died on 25 December 1946
• • Fields co-starred with Mae in the motion picture "My Little Chickadee," which began production on 12 November 1939 and wrapped up in December just before Christmas.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1935 • •
Mae West.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mae West: Vaude

Fifty-five years ago, a book was published that discussed many aspects of MAE WEST's career in variety. Here is a tiny selection from a fascinating book written from a first-person perspective by Joe Laurie, Jr., who had worked with Mae and composer-pianist Raymond Walker [born 1883]..
• • Joe Laurie, Jr. writes: When vaude fell apart, many of the piano players did very well writing hit songs, and others spread around cafes and night clubs.
• • Many, too many, have changed their piano for a harp!
• • Of all the old-time vaude accompanists, there are still two who are working at their trade and doing great. Raymond Walker (writer of "Good Night, Nurse" in 1912 and other songs), who played for Sophie Tucker, Mae West, and Marie Fenton when they first started, and who has played everything from the Chatham Club in New York's Chinatown to vaude and then to night clubs, now at the age of seventy is still accompanying the future greats in the plush cafes of Florida. . . .
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Vaudeville: From the Honky-tonks to the Palace
• • Chapter: ACCOMPANIED BY . . .
• • Author: Joe Laurie, Jr.
• • [NY: Henry Holt and Company, 1953]

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1912 • •
Mae West.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mae West: Outsider

In a recent interview, comedienne, cabaret performer, and former stripper Lisa Faith Phillips discussed the life of a stand-up comic, MAE WEST, and whether women are actually funny,
• • Interviewer Betty Swallow asked Lisa: Why is it that men are considered funnier? Are men better at laughing at themselves, particularly physically?
• •
Lisa Faith Phillips said: I was struck by a book that came out in 1986 Comedy Writing Secrets by Melvin Helitzer. In it he proposes that the two most important elements of why we laugh are superiority and surprise — — with the desire to feel superior the most important.
• • Melvin Helitzer writes: “There is a strong and constant need for us to feel superior… What we are often doing with humor is comparing ourselves with others we consider inferior by ridiculing their intelligence, their social standing and their physical infirmities.”
• • It seems easier for men to pursue this sort of comedy as they have been used to being in the power position for centuries. It is harder for women, though it has thankfully been changing, to come at the audience from a power position as for centuries we have been relegated to the position of helpmate, nurturing, and supportive. So women have to break the mold of how society has viewed them for centuries to follow their male counterparts.
• • Looking back over what comediennes were successful on television, there does seem to be only the “allowed” roles for women by the male controlled early movies and television. Gracie Allen — — ding-a-ling housewife, Lucille Ball — — ding-a-ling housewife, Phyllis Diller — — lazy, sloppy housewife, Rosanne Barr
— — fat, lazy sloppy housewife. There was also the Mae West’s and Sophie Tucker’s brand of bad girl humor which didn’t thrive as well on TV — — though it has had a life in the comedy and cabaret clubs.
• • It is striking that many of the women comedians today who are the most successful are lesbians: Ellen Degeneres, Paula Poundstone, Rosie O’Donnell, Wanda Sykes, which ties into the aggressive outsider role that comediennes often are placed.
• • I am excited to see how comedy will change now that women are becoming a more accepted part of the comedy scene . . . .

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Mae West.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mae West: Bowery Singer

MAE WEST was not the only one fascinated by the Bowery.
• • In 1905, Singer took over the firm Wheeler and Wilson Sewing Machines. In December they released intriguing bits of New York City history as part of the promotional material celebrating the merger.
• • Mae West's mother — — who made all of the costumes for "Baby Mae" — — perhaps even saw one of these give-aways. One featured a large photo of the Bowery and here's a portion of what it said.
• • The glamour is gone from "Thieves' Paradise," as the block on the right-hand side — — between Houston and First Streets — — towards the head of the thoroughfare used to be known. "Suicide Hall" was closed during the administration of Mayor Low, and the proprietor fled the city to escape arrest. More recently the Volks' Garten, adjoining it, has been taken over for the establishment of a Methodist mission.
• • At the head of the Bowery, just visible in the photograph, is . . . .

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1928 • •
Mae West.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mae West: Myrtle Beach

MAE WEST, who is still in demand, turned up recently as a feature for a fundraiser in South Carolina.
• • The story goes that during November, the Tidewater Grill [1400 Tidewater Drive, North Myrtle Beach, SC] introduced “Wheel Night” — — which has proved popular. Wheel Night is held on Thursdays from 5:30 to 8:00 PM.
• • Wheel Night is held in partnership with Tidewater Charity Tournament Committee (TCTC) to raise funds throughout the year for the Charity Golf Tournament that has been held each Labor Day for the past four years. Last year, TCTC raised $25,000 for the North Strand Helping Hand and the Autism Advocacy Foundation.
• • Starting with the December 18th Wheel Night, surprise celebrity personalities have been appearing monthly. This past week furnished two notable personalities — — Mae West and Santa Claus. If Mae had a comment, it might be that most men do like to come more than once a year. Agreed?

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • a "look-alike" with Santa • •
Mae West.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mae West: Censorship

MAE WEST was always doing battle with the censors. Once the Brooklyn bombshell was under contract to Paramount Pictures, Joseph Breen, "the Hitler of Hollywood," took a hatchet to all of Mae's scripts. Since Joe Breen — — who died at age 75 during the month of December (on 5 December 1965) — — held the power, some folks might believe he wrote the Production Code. He did not.
• • Gregory D. Black outlines the history of The Hays Code thoroughly in his book, The Catholic Crusade Against the Movies, 1940 — 1975.
• • During the 1920s, celebrity scandals threatened to rock Hollywood. Celebrities were dying in freak sex accidents, lurid private lifestyles were being revealed in the media, and extramarital affairs among screen stars spiced up the tabloids. These shockers, as well as a declining morality portrayed in motion pictures, shook the movie-goer's faith and threatened government censorship in cinema. This new film industry, fearful of alienating ticket-buyers, felt it must boost its image from within — — and created the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) in 1922.
• • The MPAA appointed William Hays, a stout Presbyterian politician, to be the front man for the organization and to ward off government censorship bills while creating a code calling for self-regulation by creators of films. The code Hays created prohibited nudity and profanity as well as other elements. However, the code allowed for each director’s interpretation, therefore, morality in film improved only a little.
• • The Catholic Church furnished a solution. The Church felt that if the Catholic hierarchy supported a moral code, its influence would be strong enough to eliminate the need for political censorship. Because of the enormous and centralized nature of the Roman Catholic Church, the industry would be forced to conform to their standards.
• • Martin Quigley, owner of the trade journals Motion Picture Daily and Motion Picture Herald, together with Father Daniel Lord, S.J., teamed to write a document presenting the Catholic position on the new medium.
• • A portion of the code follows:
• • • • Reasons Supporting Preamble of Code • • • •
• • • • Correct entertainment raises the whole standard of a nation. Wrong entertainment lowers the whole living conditions and moral ideas of a race.[…]
• • • • They [motion pictures] reproduce the morality of the men who use the pictures as a medium for the expression of their ideas and ideals. They affect the moral standards of those who through the screen take in these ideas and ideals. […]
• • • • Reasons Supporting the General Principles • • • •
• • • • No picture shall be produced which will lower the moral standards of those who see it… This is done:
• • • • When evil is made to appear attractive or alluring and good is made to appear unattractive.
• • • • When the sympathy of the audience is thrown to the side of crime wrong-doing, evil, sin. The same thing is true of a film that would throw sympathy against goodness, honor, innocence, purity or honesty. […]
• • • • …throughout, the audience feels sure that evil is wrong and good is right. […]
• • • • Crimes against the Law • • • •
• • • • Revenge in modern times shall not be justified. […]
• • • • Sex • • • •
• • • • Impure love must not be presented as attractive or beautiful. […]
• • • • In general, it must not be detailed in methods and manner.
• • • • Costume • • • •
• • • • The effect of nudity or semi-nudity upon the normal man or woman and much more upon the young and immature person, has been honestly recognized by all lawmakers and moralists. […]
• • • • Nudity can never be permitted as being necessary for the plot. Semi-nudity must not result in indecent exposure. […]
• • • • Dances • • • •
• • • • …dances which suggest or represent sexual actions, whether performed solo or with two or more, dances intended to excite the emotional reaction of an audience, dances with movement of the breasts, excessive body movements while the feet are stationary, violate decency and are wrong.
• • • • Religion • • • •
• • • • The reason why ministers of religion may not be comic characters or villains is simply because the attitude taken toward them may easily become the attitude taken toward religion in general. […]
• • Martin J. Quigley and Daniel Lord presented their code to Hays, who felt it was just what he had been looking for. Despite the many restrictions put on their art, the industry accepted the “Hays Code” with little resistance.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Mae West: Flo Bert

In "The Mimic World of 1921" MAE WEST was cast as Flo Bert — — and the actor-singer Cliff Edwards was cast as Flo's husband El Brendel.
• • Born in Pennsylvania in the month of December, Flo Bert [2 December 1898 — 8 April 1981] was a popular white vaudeville headliner, touring both as a solo act and in partnership with her husband, the Swedish-dialect comedian El Brendel [1890 — 1964].
• • The team began playing the lesser New York–area vaudeville houses around 1918.
• • By the mid-1920s, these married vaudevillians were a featured act at Manhattan's Hippodrome on Sixth Avenue as well as on many other stages in the legit. They also appeared in the New York productions of "Cinderella on Broadway: A Fantasy of the Great White Way" at the Winter Garden [1920] and in "The Mimic World of 1921" at the Century Promenade near Central Park. Alas, the Internet Broadway db misspelt the actress's name as "Flo Burt."
• • Together, Flo and Elmer made one Vitaphone short in 1929.
• • Flo Bert played a showgirl in the motion picture "I'm from Arkansas" (1944).
• • Flo Bert resurfaced again in the 1950s with small character roles in such films as "Laffing Time" and "The She-Creature."

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1921 • •
Mae West.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mae West: "Mad" Man

MAE WEST had a talent for hooking up with top gangsters, mad, bad, and indispensable to know.
• • "So sweet and so vicious," was Mae's character rating for Owney "The Killer" Madden, whose birthday is today.
• • Mae West acknowledged meeting Madden when she moved into the Harding Hotel at 205 West 54th Street. Owney Madden provided the financing for several of Texas Guinan's speakeasies — — and Guinan's Club Abbey operated from the basement of the Harding Hotel during Mae's residency. Texas Guinan employed a tap dancer, George Ranft [stage name George Raft], who was also Madden's bagman.
• • When Owney Madden financed Mae West's Broadway show "Sex," George made nightly visits to pick up the gangster's share of the box-office profits. Soon George and Mae became lovers, a mutually beneficial relationship.
• • Owen "Owney" Madden [born 18 December 1891 in England] grew up in midtown Manhattan's gang-ridden westside. In the early 1900s, his family moved to 352 Tenth Avenue, off the corner of West 30th Street. Mary Madden and her three youngsters had moved in with her sister-in-law Elizabeth O'Neil; both widows were raising children while trying to support a husband-less household. Young Owney soon joined the Gopher Gang and became a one person crime wave.
• • During the Prohibition Era, Madden owned the popular Cotton Club in Harlem. When Francis Ford Coppola made "The Cotton Club," he chose Bob Hoskins to portray Madden.
• • On 24 April 1965, Owney Madden, 75, died in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • Harding Hotel • •
Mae West.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mae West: Impressions

It was 10 December 1933 when Dorothy Sands was doing her MAE WEST impression again.
• • Well known for being a Mae West mimic since 1928 — — when her nuanced "Diamond Lil" imitation was the hit of the Grand Street Follies — — Dorothy Sands kept her corset and Brooklyn accent ready for bookings.
• • By the Christmas season of 1933, the Great Depression had severely stressed many performers' pocketbooks. The Benefit for the Stage Relief Fund had been scheduled for the evening of December 10th at the Masque [252 West 45th Street].
• • Dorothy Sands called her routine "Our Stage and Stars." Imagine what the Empress of Sex might have thought of this female impersonator.

• • Like Mae West, Dorothy Sands was born in 1893 and died in 1980. On 5 March 1893, Dorothy Sands was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
• • Dorothy Sands began her performance career on Broadway in 1924, and was steadily cast on the legitimate stage until 1970. Her last Broadway credit was her role as Hattie Fields in the comedy "Paris Is Out!" [2 February 1970 18 April 1970].
• • On the vaudeville circuit, she also did impressions of Sophie Tucker, Eva Tanguay, Ethel Barrymore, and others.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • Theatre Masque • •

Mae West.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mae West: Karl Struss

MAE WEST said her favorite cinematographer was Karl Struss because he made her look more beautiful onscreen than anyone else. Like her, he was of German descent.
• • The son of a wire manufacturer, cinematographer Karl Struss was born in New York City on 30 November 1886 and studied photography at Columbia University. Hal Mohr a fellow film cameraman called Struss one of the greatest still photographers who ever lived.
• • In 1914, he took over the portrait studio of Clarence White [1871
1925] at 5 West 31st Street, which was then the heart of the photography district. Struss maintained a flourishing business there until 1918, when (at the outset of the war) he voiced a pro-German sentiment. The damning information given to the authorities came from other members of the PPA [Pictorialist Photographers of America]. In 1918 he was asked to resign from the PPA and was struck from their membership. Though he vigorously defended his patriotism and even spent time at Fort Leavenworth as a guard, his studio closed, clients vanished, and his reputation was damaged. Disillusioned with New York, Struss realized that it would be difficult to re-establish himself as a photographer. Therefore, he decided to go straight to Los Angeles in 1919 as soon as he was discharged from the Army.
• • In 1919, Karl Struss was first hired
as a still photographer by Cecil B. DeMille. Climbing to the top in relatively short order, Struss worked most often in collaboration with Charles Rosher; he and Rosher shared the first-ever Best Photography Academy Award for their eye-popping work on F.W. Murnau's Sunrise [1927].
• • Many of Struss' own innovations were often mistakenly credited by film historians to directors. For instance, it was Struss and not director Rouben Mamoulian who came up with the idea of using infrared filters for the transformation scenes in 1931's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. During his many years at Paramount Pictures, Struss helped train some of the best cameramen of the 1950s.
• • When film historians cite his best work, Goin' to Town starring Mae West is, alas, not one of the motion pictures referenced.
• • In the month of December — — on 15 December 1981 — — 95-year-old Karl Struss died in Los Angeles.
• • Goin' to Town — — Paramount production and release. Stars Mae West. Directed by Alexander Hall. Produced by William LeBaron. Original by Marion Morgan and George B. Dowell; screenplay and dialog. Miss West. Songs, Sammy Fain, Irving Kahal; camera, Karl Struss. At the Paramount N.Y. — — week of 10 May 1935. Running time, 75 mins.
• • Cast:
• • Cleo Borden . . . Mae West
• • Edward Barrington . . . Paul Cavanagh
• • Ivan Veladov . . . Ivan Lebedeff
• • Taho . . . Tito Coral
• • Mrs. Crane Brittony . . . Marjorie Gateson
• • Buck Gonzales . . . Fred Kohler, Sr.
• • Fletcher Colton . . . Monroe Owsley
• • Winslow . . . Gilbert Emery
• • Young Fellow . . . Grant Withers
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West's cameraman • • Karl Struss in 1937
• •

Mae West.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mae West: Banned

MAE WEST was on the mind of a British gentleman, who named his daughter after the controversial starlet.
• • The Englishman wrote this piece for the Hackney Gazette: I was discussing with my daughter last week how I chose her name — — the first being after Ray Charles's version of "Georgia On My Mind" and the second after 1930s film star Mae West.
• • I explained who Mae West was and how she had been instrumental in pushing the limits of what could and couldn't be said at a time when censorship was so strict that books now considered to be classics could be banned and actors in films or plays couldn't even be seen lying on a bed together.
• • You would think that we had moved on from those times, but apparently not. . . .
• • There's a disturbing puritanical streak running through the media . . .
• • But suddenly now it seems that no one dare say anything because even if no one hears it at the time, apparently it's OK to be outraged through hearing about it from a third party after the event!
• • This has to stop. Mae West was locked in the cells on at least one occasion for things she did or said. Lenny Bruce was persecuted so that our opinions and sensibilities could be stretched.
• • Are we seriously going to allow ourselves to be pushed back to a time when "Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me" had people reaching for the smelling salts?
• • Of course, we're not. Get a grip. . . .
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: "YOU THINK THAT'S FUNNY? WELL, YES, ACTUALLY"
• • Byline: Unsigned column
• • Published in: Hackney Gazette — — www.hackneygazette.co.uk
• • Published on: 14 December 2008

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • none
• •

Mae West.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mae West: Hairy

MAE WEST, always the mistress of the silver tongue, says of the occasion Marlene Dietrich offered to wash her hair for her: “I had to turn her down. I was afraid she didn’t mean the hair on my head.”
— — Source: — —
• • The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood by Diana McLellan
• • Published by: Robson, 2008

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • none
• •

Mae West.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mae West: Telluride

MAE WEST was in Telluride for a special ski area dedication gala that took place from December 7 — 10, 1973.
• • This is how the Telluride Times announced the star-studded weekend exactly thirty five years ago:
• • The grand opening and official dedication of the Telluride Ski Area will be held Dec. 7 — 10, 1973 with big names and important people — — but the whole thing will be tied into a benefit for emotionally disturbed children in the Los Angeles area.
• • Joseph T. Zoline, ski area developer, announced that the usual fun and frolic of a ski area dedication will be tempered with the serious business of raising funds for Reiss Davis Institute, a home for emotionally disturbed children in Los Angeles. It is one of five such facilities of its type in the United States and the only one west of the Mississippi. Children at the institute are given free medial and psychiatric treatment.
• • Zoline said that is has been confirmed that television personality Art Linkletter will be here to act as master of ceremonies. A long list of other celebrities have been invited. In addition, Gov. John Vanderhoff, former Gov. John Love, senators, congressmen, and all local officials will be invited to take part, Zoline said.
• • It was reported to the Chamber of Commerce meeting that Mae West, who does not need any further identification, had agreed to be honorary chairman of the Reiss Davis Institute Day at Telluride. Naturally, the theme for the day will be “Why Don’t You Come Up and Ski Me Some Time?” It was also reported that Henry Fonda has agreed to come to town that weekend.
• • An invitation to the four-day bash came from Reiss Davis to 125 people to come to Telluride and take part in the grand opening and pay the institute $300 for the privilege. Participants will pay their own fare to Grand Junction, but from there on Telluride area business people will provide as much food and lodging as possible.
• • The Telluride Lodge would house some of the guest and Bucky Schuler has offered the facilities of Tomboy Inn.
— — Source: — —
• • The Telluride Times — — 1973

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • none
• •

Mae West.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mae West: Chick Clark

MAE WEST gives Chick Clark the first words in the novel version of "Diamond Lil." In her 1928 Broadway smash, the inmate who returns to menace the gal who done him wrong was portrayed by stage veteran Herbert Duffy [who died on 23 November 1952].
• • For the Hollywood version of "She Done Him Wrong" [1933], Owen Moore played the thick-necked thug out for frontier justice.
• • Directed by Lowell Sherman, this 66-minute classic set on the Bowery during the Gay Nineties was a blockbuster. Produced for $200,000 half of which went to Mae West for writing and starring it returned $2 million domestically on its initial release and another $1 million in international markets. Despite Mae's claims to the contrary, the box office bonanza was NOT enough to pull Paramount Pictures out of the red. But the film did raise studio morale and their image enough to help them edge back toward profitability. The film made Mae West a household name and boosted the career of co-star Cary Grant, who was just starting in motion pictures. He would later claim that he inhaled his lessons about playing comedy from watching the Brooklyn bombshell.
• • "She Done Him Wrong" made the hourglass figure trendy again and encouraged a rush of films set in the 1890s. A backlash was not far behind.
• • Mae West's suggestive song "A Guy What Takes His Time" was so heavily cut by the censors that Paramount recalled all release prints to cut the middle stanzas. Other lines were cut by local censors, and the film was banned outright in Java, Latvia, Australia, and Vienna. It also resurrected renewed cries for national film censorship that led to the strengthening of the Production Code in 1934. That, in turn, would create even more battles between Mae West and the censors, though the blue-noses could do nothing to diminish the sexual independence of her characters.
• • Owen Moore as Chick Clark • •
• • An interesting side-trip down memory lane revisits Owen Moore [12 December 1886 9 June 1939], who muscled up enough menace as Chick Clark, Mae West's ex-boyfriend and "pen" pal in "She Done Him Wrong." The novel Diamond Lil opens with the frustrated lovebird turned jailbird on page 1, cursing Lil from behind bars, angry that she done him dirt.
• • An Irish silent film star, Owen Moore wed 19-year-old Mary Pickford [8 April 1892 29 May 1979] on 7 January 1911. The marriage was stormy due to Moore's alcoholism and they divorced in March 1920; she gave Owen Moore $100,000 to go along with their quickie Nevada divorce scheme. A few days later, Mary wed her dashing lover and colleague Douglas Fairbanks.
• • By 1936, Pickford had also divorced Fairbanks. Is this when she acquired her reputation as an arch-prude? Certainly, Tinseltown's critics turned "America's Sweetheart" into a joke by circulating the story of how she ended Mae West's career by complaining to William Randolph Hearst about the bawdy lyrics of West's songs. Was Mary jealous of Mae for giving her ex-husband the role he would always be remembered for?
• • Owen Moore has a star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame: 6743 Hollywood Boulevard.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • with Owen Moore
• •
Mae West.